Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: March 16, 1961
Rating: ★★★

The Saga of Windwagon Smith © Walt Disney‘The Saga of Windwagon Smith’ was Disney’s last tall tale cartoon after entries like ‘Pecos Bill‘ (from ‘Melody Time‘, 1948) and ‘Paul Bunyan‘ (1958).

Unlike the former, which were rooted in American folklore, this story seems to be an original, although it retains a traditional feel. The story, which is sung in rhyme, tells about Windwagon Smith, a sailor who arrives at a small town in Kansas on a wagon with a sail. He convinces the villagers to make even a larger one to sail the prairies to Santa Fe with. But when it’s ready the villagers get scared and abandon the ‘ship’, except for Molly, the mayor’s daughter, who’s in love with Smith. Together they vanish into a storm.

‘The Saga of Windwagon Smith’ was the last cartoon to be directed by Charles Nichols. It’s also the last of only six shorts directed by him not to feature Pluto. It’s moderately stylized except for Molly, who’s conceived and animated in a charmingly stylized way. Nichols left Disney in 1962 for Hanna-Barbera, where he worked on countless television series. In the late 1980s he returned to Disney, where he worked onto his death in 1992, 81 years old.

Watch ‘The Saga of Windwagon Smith’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘The Saga of Windwagon Smith’ is available on the DVD ‘Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities’